Security standards enhanced - Installation of reinforced cockpit doors
Security is a topmost priority at Lufthansa. We have begun fitting our fleet with reinforced cockpit doors to further enhance our high security standards, said Wolfgang Mayrhuber, Member of the Lufthansa Executive Board and President and Chief Operating Officer of the passenger airline in Berlin last night.
All the aircraft in the Lufthansa fleet are to be equipped with the new doors over the next three months, he added: “Security has topmost priority at Lufthansa. Even before September 11, ongoing upgrades of our processes and internal checks were standard practice. After the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, Lufthansa reacted immediately to the new security situation.” As a first step, baggage checking was stepped up, sky marshalls were introduced and personnel subjected to additional screening, said Mayrhuber.
The Lufthansa Executive Board member emphasised that security standards in Germany are at the leading edge. As one example, he cited rigorous reconciliation of passengers and their baggage. “Our aim is to get international security regulations up to the standards prevailing in Germany.”
In the present, critical situation confronting the entire aviation industry, Lufthansa is unable to absorb any further burdens imposed by the state, Mayrhuber said. He assumed that the repeated debate in the EU on the imposition of a jet fuel tax had been dropped from the agenda. “There are enough airlines that can scarcely pay their fuel bill anyway, let alone a fuel tax.” The same applies to higher charges for additional security at airports, Mayrhuber emphasised. “The dangers do not stem from a transport carrier like an aircraft. Aircraft are misused for attacks on our system and the state. Protection against terrorism is first and foremost the responsibility of the state,” he said, while emphasising that a very constructive dialogue is being conducted with the federal government.
Turning to the dramatic developments in recent weeks, Wolfgang Mayrhuber pointed out that Lufthansa`s passenger volume in some regions has plummeted by more than 30 per cent and earnings by 20 per cent. “Our weekly revenues since September 11 are down by about 50 million euros.” he said. Profits are falling accordingly. “In response to this drastic market situation, Lufthansa has already decided on and implemented sweeping measures to cope with the changes in the airline business”, he noted.” The airline has withdrawn 28 of its aircraft from service. A total of 51 long-haul flights, and 244 short to medium-haul flights, have been trimmed from the flight schedules. All in all, 16 routes have been scratched from the timetable. In a crash programme, a freeze has been clamped on staffing additions and investments, and a package of savings measures drawn up. Even further cuts are necessary, Mayrhuber announced. “The Executive Board is intent on reaching socially compatible solutions in cooperation with employee representatives and the trade unions. We want to manage, if at all possible, without dismissals.” But that presupposes a willingness to accept flexible working-hour models, he said. The introduction of a four-day week in some areas of the company as well as changes in remuneration are among the options to realise that aim. The Executive Board is already in dialogue with employee representatives and unions. Mayrhuber: “The much-evoked Lufthansa spirit can help us emerge stronger from the crisis.”